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What Kevin Sumlin said after Arizona football’s loss to Stanford

The two-quarterback system will “probably” continue

Arizona v Stanford Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

The Arizona Wildcats lost to the Stanford Cardinal 41-31 on Saturday for their third-straight loss. They are now 4-4 overall and 2-3 in the Pac-12 heading into a homecoming game vs. Oregon State.

Our recap of the loss can be found here, additional takeaways can be read here, and below is what head coach Kevin Sumlin had to say afterwards along with the transcript.

On his takeaways from the game: “I mean, when guys play hard, when you have a game like this, going into it you know it’s two different styles. They’re going to use the clock and limit possessions, and then we needed to be efficient with no-huddle. Actually, we had more plays than they did.”

“But because they limit your possessions, when you turn the ball over a couple times, that’s really like a possession and a half. So we needed to be more efficient than we were. We just weren’t efficient enough in our jobs. We ran it pretty good. We threw it reasonably well. But we’ve got to get off the field on defense on third down.”

On K.J. Costello starting for Stanford instead of Davis Mills or Jack West: “Obviously, it was a huge difference today. What was he, 30-43, three touchdowns, no sacks and no turnovers? That’s a veteran quarterback and a guy who’s been in a lot of different games and been in a lot of different situations, and he showed it today. He was probably the best player on the field today.”

On swapping Khalil Tate and Grant Gunnell: “We went in the game, and they knew that. So the third series, Grant was going to go in. Obviously, he operated pretty well. We want to get him in, and as I said two weeks ago, if he’s not redshirting, he needs to play, and he needs to learn from some experiences like he had today. You’re not in mop-up time. You’re not in anything else. I think he showed that he’s capable like he has. He’s won games. He’s played at different stages. We want to make sure that his growth continues.”

On determining which quarterback would play: “We already talked about that pregame. Khalil understood what was going on. He came in and moved the team, and then Khalil responded and ran and took off and did some things. I think, as long as there’s communication in that deal, they understand it, and I thought the first half and even midway through the third quarter, until we got behind two scores, it’s hard to put a freshman back in there at that point.

“But I thought that they understood what the plan was, and I thought they both gave us a chance in the first half to be successful.”

On if the two-quarterback system will continue: “Probably. I told you three weeks ago Grant wasn’t going to redshirt. I thought both of them were effective today.”

On if he expected a shootout: “It’s football. You never know. To your point, you’ve got a quarterback that’s an experienced quarterback that has been in big games. We know what (Cameron) Scarlett can do, right? He got 106, but it was a real 106. He had 19 carries. So the other piece was Costello was just, as I said today, that’s why he is what he was for preseason. He’s an experienced guy that has been in a lot of football games, and that showed today.”

On if Kyle Ostendorp started at punter because of a good week of practice: ”Yeah, we talked about that at the press conference. We’ve got competitions going everywhere. What we do in practice and everything like that, we chart everything, do some things. I think he was reasonably effective today, right? He punted four times. He averaged 46. That’s substantially better than we’ve been all year. So it’s a different style that he has. It’s not pretty a lot. But it’s effective. So that was an improvement today for us.”

On if Arizona tried to shy away from Stanford CB Paulson Adebo, who had two interceptions: “No. He made a really good play on the last play of the game for us offensively. It was a stutter, a double move play, and he recovered. Maybe the ball was underthrown a little bit, but that was still a heck of a play by him. Guys like that, double moves, they’re aggressive, and that’s what we try to do. He recovered and made a play.”

On the defense’s problems: ”Well, consistency for us offensively. When you’ve got almost 500 yards and 31 points, we needed 48 points. We had a couple of negative yardage plays that hurt us. What I would say is, as I said earlier, in a game like this, when you know the possessions you have are going to be [limited] you have to be efficient, and you can’t turn the ball over, and we did that. We made yards. We scored points. But if you turn it over, because of the style of play of the other team, you’re losing possessions and point probabilities.

“We had 77 plays. They had 74. So it’s two different styles. We needed to get more snaps. We did that, but the efficiency, again, we’re 5 of 13 on third down. So we’ve been one of the top teams in the league in third down percentage. I think we were something crazy at halftime, one of five, and we had 24 points. So we were efficient but not efficient enough.”

On why freshman CB Bobby Wolfe didn’t travel to the game: “He wasn’t here. That’s internal.”

On the state of the team: “It’s hard right now because that locker room, it’s tough in there. The message is we’ve got to stay together, and we’ve got to keep fighting. We’ve only got two choices. You either fight or you run, and we’re not running. For us as a coaching staff and for us as a team, we’ve got another challenge this week.

“We talk all the time you win or lose. We’ve got to look at what we’re doing great, which is a couple things we changed, and try to stay ahead of the curve there. The things we’re doing poorly, we’ve got to fix, and that takes everybody. That’s coaches, players, everybody.

“So that’s where we are. We’ve got plenty of season to go. One thing I can say about our guys is they’re not quitting. They’re playing hard. We’ve got to give them chances as coaches, and we’ve got to cut down on the turnovers. We’ve cut down penalties. But you’ve just got to press forward.

“That’s my job. That’s our coaches’ job. That’s our leadership internally on our team’s job because we’ve got another game next week, and we can’t let this affect what’s going to go on this next week except for what we can do to fix some of the things that we didn’t do very well today.”